Standup Comedy Interview & Set with Bob Ettinger of Jeopardy Show

This is a fun interview and comedy set with comic Bob Ettinger, a regular act at Laughs and in the 2000’s was working for Jeopardy…he has stories to share on both comedy and working for the famous game show and Alex Trebek. Hope you enjoy this special look behind the scenes.

Hosted by: R. Scott Edwards

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Podcast Transcript:

Announcer: 

This is another episode of stand up comedy, your host and emcee, celebrating 40 plus years on the fringe of show business, stories, interviews and comedy sets from the famous and not so famous. Here’s your host and emcee Scott and words.

Scott Edwards: 

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another show. We have another terrific interview with a fantastic comic, comedy writer, and producer. This guy’s done it all. Let’s welcome to the interview stage. It’s Bob. Injure. Bob, it’s so great to hear your voice. Welcome to the podcast stage. We have a lot of past How you been, buddy?

Bob Ettinger: 

I’m doing good. I appreciate you reaching out this has been fun. Yeah,

Scott Edwards: 

it’s been a real joy of doing this podcast is connecting with old friends from the business. We always said that we don’t miss the running of clubs and restaurants is is a big thing. But we missed the people. Now, I know a lot about you, but I want to bring it out in the podcast. Why don’t you share with the audience? How did you kind of get into comedy? How did you decide? You were funny and you wanted to do stand up comedy?

Bob Ettinger: 

Well, I was one of those people who really loved comedy growing up. I wasn’t really necessarily the class clown per se, but you know, could write things and do things. So actually, when I was in high school, I grew up in Pasadena, which is the home of the world famous ice house, right. And at the ice house at the time, they had a comedy class taught by Danny Mora.

Scott Edwards: 

Club, there’s a name from the past Danny Mora, great guy

Bob Ettinger: 

came in peer group workshops they created he did A a live comedy class. And I believe I was the youngest person in the class by quite a bit. And during that time, I also had a creative writing class. And so one day we had free writing. So I said, Okay, I’m gonna write jokes. And so I turned to my paper. And my teacher has this horrified look. And she calls me up to the front of her desk, and pointed this paper. And on the paper is a red app. I’m like, what’s going on? She goes, I don’t want you to just just write down people’s jokes. I want you to be creative writing. I’m like, those are my jokes.

Scott Edwards: 

She didn’t believe they came from you.

Bob Ettinger: 

Yes. So you guys don’t make jokes. And she gives me a double take of the girl. I’m like, Yeah. And she grabs the paperback. And she grabs a red pen and writes a big flash down the side of the app to make a neck.

Scott Edwards: 

That’s awesome that this may be taxing your memory. But do you remember any of your first jokes?

Bob Ettinger: 

There’s one. Of course back then they’re all horrible. Right? So I remember at that time, there was a thing called freshen up gum. In the freshen up gum was the gum that went squirt.

Scott Edwards: 

Right, right.

Bob Ettinger: 

I remember that though. So I had a joke of Edie Bearskin called gum that would keep guys from going score. So that was my birth control gum, the gum that won’t let you squirt.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, now that’s, you know, for a young guy that was just on the fringe of showbusiness, that was not a bad first joke.

Bob Ettinger: 

Not too bad. I don’t know that it never made it to one of your stages.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, it probably better that it didn’t. But I just think for a young guy just going to initial comedy classes. That’s not a bad start. Obviously, you had a talent for writing. I know that that later in this interview that’ll come up as being an important partner career. But so comedy writing and then going to this comedy class with Dannemora kind of gave you your start. How long did you participate in Danny’s class?

Bob Ettinger: 

Danny’s class probably ran a couple months, I think we had like a final showcase in the icoc main room, which was fun. Oh, cool. When I was touring campuses, my older brother attended UCLA, so I was on campus, visiting him. And that day I was on campus, the Daily Bruin, which was the new daily newspaper, had an article on a thing called the UCLA Comedy Club. And So lo and behold, here is a student group that did chosen dorms. And so that that really sealed the deal for me. It’s like, wait a second, I can join this group and do stand up on campus. This is great.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, that’s cool. Yeah, that’s a great way to start to because you’re with your peers. And those audiences seem a little more accepted to material and in young comics, maybe not.

Bob Ettinger: 

Maybe not as critical as a paid off And a club is what I meant, though, for sure. Now the other brilliant thing they did, although it was very taxing at the time was they figured out, okay, we’ll do shows in the dorms, but we better not do the same show every time because no one will come see us. So they instituted a rule that pretty much every show had to be new material. Yeah, that you had to create five new minutes every time you did one of these things.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, which is really the total opposite of what we went for in the clubs. If you had good material, we wanted you to repeat it, because we wanted people to come back and bring their friends. But at the same time, that kind of pressure must have really helped you focus on your writing even more.

Bob Ettinger: 

It really did, we got to do a best of me at the end of every quarter, where you can sort of cherry pick, okay, what bits work and do it again. And that’s what really gave me lots of competence, because we had guys who would just come out there and just crush it every time and I would be like, pretty 5050 I’d have a good set for half that maybe the other half, not so much. Because again, it’s brand new stuff. You’ve never done it anywhere. But some of the guys were in that group or guys, you’re familiar with that Tolman,

Scott Edwards: 

oh Ed, famous writer.

Bob Ettinger: 

So Ed was part of that talking about your famous writers we had Shane Black was part of that group really weapon. Jim Hertzfeld was part of that group and meet the parents.

Scott Edwards: 

You just had a wealth of talent all in one’s place. But UCLA, UCLA is kind of a crucible in the Southern California area for talent, whether it’s sports, academics, and of course, as we’re talking about writing, because you really have the best of the Hollywood scene, sending their kids are going to that university. That’s what a great opportunity and forcing you to write new material every show, even though I wouldn’t have recommended that down the road is a great way to force yourself to create a set because if you could do five new minutes, five different times you get to a regular club, you might have 20 minutes to play with.

Bob Ettinger: 

Yeah, exactly. Another guy was part of the group was, I think the person who led me to you. Was Howard Leff.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, okay. Well, one of my questions was, how did you end up working at laughs? Were you a referral? Did you send me a tape?

Bob Ettinger: 

I don’t remember for sure. But I do remember, Howard. I knew Howard beforeyou. But I was not as tight with with Ed at that point, as there was with Howard. And I would go and do a lot of clubs in LA together. And I know Howard worked for you for a time. And I think he might have been my hand.

Scott Edwards: 

He and Ed Solomon did come up quite a bit in those early days. And if they brought you up, I was always quick to accept referrals from other comics because nobody would dare refer somebody that wasn’t funny. Right? Because that would really taint their future at the club. So when somebody said, Hey, give this guy a shot. And And normally, that would mean, you came up as an opening act and kind of showed yourself now you had you started working at the clubs in LA, kind of doing some open mics.

Bob Ettinger: 

I actually, in retrospect, planned it pretty smartly. I did a lot of stuff in LA. And I knew I wanted to go on the road. And I sort of started booking myself out. And I had a day job, which ended up sort of costing me a little bit in the end, okay. So by the time I quit my job, this is back in the heyday of comedy whenever it was booking really far out. So I remember when I quit my job in September I was booked from and again, this is pretty much as an opener. I was booked pretty solidly as an opener from September of one year through June of the next. That’s good work lineup. Yeah. So you know, I felt a nice little cushion to quit my job and at least knew I had income coming in. A little did he know that gigs would fall out and cancel? He didn’t figure that part out. Really naive to figure that factor. But how many fell out? Not too many. But yeah. Common. At that point. When you’re counting on every dollar then everyone seems very drained. Right?

Scott Edwards: 

We should it remind the audience, it’s been mentioned a couple times over the last year, that opening acts weren’t making a ton of money. When you’re doing you know, 10 to 15, maybe 20 minutes on stage, and you’re kind of an unproven professional comic. You are still a professional because you’re getting paid. But I think the average was 150 $200 a week maybe. And when you figure transportation and food, you’re not. You’re not netting a lot of money. Now there’s a club owner, we provided a place to stay, and usually some food and drink at the club. But still, it’s it’s a rough go. It’s just part of the process, though.

Bob Ettinger: 

Right? I think some of the places. I remember I got in pretty good with the ISS, Booker. And they had a number of rooms on the road where they’d actually fly you to Texas and toban oh wow put you and put you up and actually pay you a decent a decent enough wage, those are actually kind of on the higher end along with the improvs in terms of as the opening spot where you could make.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, so what you’re saying is I was a cheapass club owner

Bob Ettinger: 

I just want the for people to realize I was making a little bit more than that.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, you know, I mean, and I’m sure you didn’t stay in opening act too long. But once you do get to the feature position, now you can really make some money, it might be as low as three or 400 a week, but it could be as high as 6800 a week and your range, right? And if you’re in now, at that point, if your housings paid for and your transportation isn’t crazy, you can make it work. Do you remember any of those visits to the club? Because you worked my clubs a lot?

Bob Ettinger: 

Yeah, I remember. I never made it to the Stockton club. That’s the only one I never got to do. But my very first week was at the original Birdcage, which if you’re coming on the road was like a great place to be because the condo was right near, like a college score and arcade was a really great Tower Records right up the street. I mean, it was just, you know, if you’ve got a place to be during the day, it’s a great spot to be. Yeah, it was nice.

Scott Edwards: 

It was a small kind of nuk Comedy Club. It only sat me 120 tops if that and we were like stashed behind a movie theater or something big Right, right. That was the original room was right in this open air mall that had a lot of other services. And if I remember correctly, the condo was an apartment literally right across the street. So yeah, it was

Bob Ettinger: 

super close. Well, very first week was with with Bobby Gaylor. And Brian Catalina. Okay, good show. And it was it was in December. And I remember for whatever reason we didn’t draw enough to do shows the first few nights. So I remember driving both Brian and Bobby crazy because I was like bouncing off of wanting to do a show. We ended up getting Yachty to play the resin playing Yahtzee all day long.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, how funny. Well, there were times and that that club ended up moving to a more

Bob Ettinger: 

location. In fact, ironically enough, the tape I would send to other Booker’s was the tape I take from that club.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, cool. Yeah, it was a nice room once we moved and we it was bigger, more professional, and right on a main drag. So there was a lot of exposure in that club is actually very successful. The original room. hat was sweet and quaint, but it wasn’t financially successful. Thus we moved it. And you didn’t miss anything in Stockton. That Club was a challenge for Stockton was a rough room to do comedy in the audience was just bizarro. And we didn’t stay there that long. Well, that’s great. Now you worked with anybody you remember famous working with it laughs or any stage?

Bob Ettinger: 

Light? Yeah, lots of lots of books. Lots of good headliners. So gosh, Bobby Slayton, Willie Tyler and Lester. Larry Wilson landed doing some writing for Oh, cool. That’s just a lots of good people.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, we were pretty lucky we hit a good core of people. And everybody you just mentioned I’ve already been interviewed on this podcast. No. They’re all good friends and very funny headliners. And were you involved in any of the offstage? Shenanigans? We used to have a bowling night do some other fun stuff?

Bob Ettinger: 

Yeah, no, that was, you know, almost like being a camp in some respects. So we get the following nights. I remember doing basketball with some park. When Lynn joined us and abused us with her baseline jumper. Good, really good player. I wasn’t expecting that much. And then all of a sudden, she’s just killing it. Well, it’s like, Oh, my God, I have to guard this. Oh, that’s

Scott Edwards: 

so funny. Lynn, for those in the audience has been on several of the podcasts. But she was an opening act MC, who was also one of my club managers, and she managed the citrus sites room for many years. And a lot of people didn’t know the comics, for example, that she was an all star basketball player in her high school. And she would go out and teach some of the boys about basketball.

Bob Ettinger: 

No, she was very good. And it was fun because we also got to meet the comic that’s working around the clock. Yeah, and you know, whatever would be worn out you would you would go and you know, meet the comics at the other one.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, there was always kind of a camaraderie we we like to include the comics in not only expecting professional, funny material onstage, but offstage. We like to include them in the comedy family and do things with them. So I’m glad you had a chance to participate in some of that.

Bob Ettinger: 

Yeah, yeah. I got to meet Mike Larsen, who ended up running for congress this last round.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah. So funny. You mentioned that Mike Larson and I have exchanged a couple emails. I haven’t interviewed him yet, but it’s not often that a stand up comic becomes a congressman.

Bob Ettinger: 

Yeah, no kidding. I didn’t quite quite get the democratic nod. But you know, he put in good effort for it.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah. And just to have somebody I mean, a lot of us would look at DC and think, hey, it’s all a big joke. But to actually have a stand up comic get a shot at Congress is pretty great. Well, you got a chance to work with a lot of people. And you worked all the clubs. I know you were at the downtown club a lot. And you had a fondness for the original room. I’m sure you enjoyed working the old sack room.

Bob Ettinger: 

Yeah, the original tack room. I was. I think we talked about this briefly. It’s arguably I think one of my top five rooms that ever got door. I love that room. It just is perfect for comedy.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, I agree. I mean, a lot of people don’t realize the low ceiling and the tight space.

Bob Ettinger: 

It’s very, very reminiscent, other than the brick of the ice out. Yeah,

Scott Edwards: 

that’s true. That’s true. Only we were bigger. I think. I think you were right. The Ice House wasn’t quite as big. But that’s great.

Bob Ettinger: 

Oh, my gosh, they would cram people into the ice house. Oh my gosh, the tables are so tiny. You couldn’t you know, they would shoehorn people in there you have your your club is a lot of people and you could actually sit at a table every night. And they go.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, you know, we want people comfortable to enjoy themselves. Well, we really have appreciated all your years of working. And you worked all stages a comedy worked all the clubs. Now I know that you had a lot of success in writing. But even as a performer didn’t you perform on Comedy Central?

Bob Ettinger: 

I did have a couple shots on Comedy Central. I did your your shot at your show.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, he run our show live. Yeah.

Bob Ettinger: 

I could one or two other things. Oh, I did something called Comedy Express at eight beats in Wonderland.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, cool. Cool. So you had a little TV exposure? That’s fun. It was nice. Yeah. Now I know that you’d said you wrote for Larry Wilson, very talented comic magician and good friend of mine. And I’m sure you’ve done a lot of writing because that seems to be a real talent for you. Now, weren’t you one of the guys that was submitting material for Jay Leno? on The Tonight Show?

Bob Ettinger: 

Oh, yeah. I was one of the Leno guys. I was one of the guys at Bruner, who is also submitting stuff for the Byron Allen show. So Byron, Byron, Katie was very different. So Jay, you just basically tore open a newspaper and figured he’s going to do something about the news and funny, right? But I got a few. But Byron is very different, because he actually gave you a topic because I want to do a model like about x. And so you might joke about x because that’s what the model is.

Scott Edwards: 

And that you and Steve Bruner team up or you were just both happen as individuals to submit material.

Bob Ettinger: 

At that time, I do actually a little writing editing procedure you say to and I did back then and he would look at my act on the Red Scare a lot. And Steve, as you know, this is amazing.

Scott Edwards: 

So one of the one of the best and cleanest stand up headliners out there. Yes.

Bob Ettinger: 

And he would he would go, here’s the tag for the bit and you hear it, you know, immediately that that’ll work well enough to try it. I know it’s gonna work, you know,

Scott Edwards: 

when he had a good year for comedy is which is important. In fact, it’s one of the things that’s interesting about my career on the fringe of show business, is that I never considered myself an entertainer or funny or a joke teller, but I had a good ear for what was funny and what wasn’t. And the timing, timing is so important. But I think

Bob Ettinger: 

I think you were one of the one of the first people to move on with the headline, weren’t you?

Scott Edwards: 

I believe so. Yeah, Steve is a great friend. He still works for me. I’m still producing some fundraisers. And still still I still come up. And he’s been on the podcast. He’s a very funny comic. Now. How did this lead to we talked about it briefly before we went on to the podcast. There’s a comic actor by the name of Don Reed. And you were a quote unquote, his creative consultant. Why don’t you explain that? Sure. So

Bob Ettinger: 

Don, is another comedy club. You see a comedy club guy, who I kind of lost track of a little bit and then reconnected a play called knuckleheads in Phoenix. We were both working down. And he decided that he was going to do some one man shows based on his life and his life. It’s amazing. So he would call a periodic and go, Hey, I don’t care. Hey, I need to gather I want to talk about that. Without even knowing the full show, and so I wouldn’t create these jokes. And well, the whole day would end up on the shows. And so you’ve done probably Gosh, about five or six one man shows.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, here’s here’s the site question and I don’t mean to get into your business. But I know that when people wrote for Carson or for Leno, there was kind of a standard $50 per joke, or there was like a baseline pay for written material when you’re creating material for another comic that’s doing a one man show. Did he pay you by the joke? did was it a fee for being a comedy consultant? How would you how would you label yourself? And how did that financially be rewarding?

Bob Ettinger: 

Um, it really differs from act to act, the Don situation, I can’t really get into a whole lot. But the rest of it. I mean, I know a lot of people it’s a joke, but I would write for a lot of people and I would charge on an hourly, I always felt like, I don’t want to be the comedy police. I’m saying, are you doing this joke? Are you doing that joke,

Scott Edwards: 

right? Like, here’s

Bob Ettinger: 

what I can create, you know, in an hour, and charge you about what it would cost you for a joke? Well, hopefully, it’ll be worth your while to hire me, well, let’s

Scott Edwards: 

go down that path just a little to educate our audience. So a joke actually, which is a big deal on a comedy stage or in a presentation to break up an audience can actually only last anywhere from 30 to maybe 90 seconds. They’re not necessarily story jokes. I mean, we’ve talked before about the famous Larry Miller that could take a tell a 20 minute story and have laughs all the way through it. But your standard joke or theme might only be a minute, two minutes. And then you can maybe add to it. So when somebody would get paid 50 bucks $50 To do a Jay Leno joke. It was literally a probably a 62nd 92nd Throw away on his monologue. If you’re doing jokes by the hour, how, how much material? Would you come up with three minutes? Five minutes? People need to understand that. Yeah, it takes a lot longer. My point is, and I’m probably going way off base here, Bob. But it could take an hour to write a solid three minute bit.

Bob Ettinger: 

Oh, yeah, for sure. So so what I would do is I’ve been literally charged by my time and some of it would be brand new jokes. I would usually work with someone who already had an act, I think always in fact, and I would watch their tape, and I go, Okay, here’s a tag for this. There’s a tag for that. Okay, here’s a joke that you can use as part of this run.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, I was doing wrong all those years. I was doing that with comics all the time at the club. I never got paid. No, but I totally get it. It’s almost like being a punch up artist. Yeah, you would get a script and you could punch it up, make it better.

Bob Ettinger: 

Right. That was that was the guys. And then there were a couple of people at front who wanted to pay me for junk. And I just said, like I told you, I’m not going to go around and see what you’re doing what? You’re not going to do that.

Scott Edwards: 

Right, right. Oh, that’s interesting, why I’m pretty sure you’re going down that path. I know. It’s not, quote unquote, funny, but it’s an interesting aspect of the business, that maybe the audience doesn’t understand that there’s people out there that you’ll never hear about, that have written some really famous or funny bits. And they got paid to punch up or create material for somebody that was the performer of that material. And there’s a difference between a great example would be also Ed Solomon, who is one of the best writers, he’s had some famous famous movies. He’s a multimillionaire, very, very successful. But I’ve been honest before, and I was honest for him. Back in the day, he wasn’t a terrific performer. He was a terrific writer, I mean, magnificent writer. But there’s a difference between writing and performing. And you were able to do both. I mean, you were a fine stand up comic.

Bob Ettinger: 

You never got, I always prefer the writing better. But I appreciate you saying that. Well, getting back to the writing really quickly. Everybody feels a little different. Like for example, Larry, Larry Wilson, created his brand new original show that he ran in Reno, it was called Wonderland. I don’t know if he ever got that. Right. So it was a blend of him doing his comedy magic, which is like the best of them. And I love watching. And he had these amazing dancers who were putting together these really complicated, really energetic routines. And so part of my deal was him was, I’m going to write me a charge per hour. But if this thing runs on success, I want a bonus. It runs right here. And it ran prettier. And I made the bonus. So it was fun.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, Larry’s an honest guy, and I’m sure he appreciated all the work you put into it. And that show was a huge success for Larry. He’s now teaching communication under the Wilson method. And he is a terrific entertainer but also is now sharing his expertise as a communicator. And I think that Those things made him really good act. Now, you’ve done much, much more than comedy right and perform on stage yourself. And I wanted to get to this because it was the thing that thrilled my wife, Jill, more than anything. You were the Project Coordinator, you might want to explain that, for the game show Jeopardy, which is one of the country’s most popular game shows ever. And you didn’t just do it once or twice. You did it for 10 years. Yeah. So that’s amazing. Rob,

Bob Ettinger: 

at the time, I was trying to get a job as a sitcom writer. So I knew I wanted to be on the Sony lot, because that was the closest one to where I was living. And so I went to their temp department. And they said, well, we don’t really have anything on the shows. But we do have this job, or you would call people all day. And like, I don’t do telemarketing. When are you kidding me? No, no, actually, what you’d be doing is you’d be calling people and letting them know that you could take a trial for Jeopardy. And I thought to myself, Okay, these people probably would like to receive that phone call, I probably wouldn’t.

Scott Edwards: 

It’s not like you’re trying to sell them something. It’s like they weren’t prize.

Bob Ettinger: 

Right? So yeah, so they were obviously thrilled to get the call and to come on in to try out. So that’s how I first got in was, was was being the person who called it. How are the people I was the one who oversaw the process of people calling in. And then under my watch, we switched it from calling to emailing.

Scott Edwards: 

So you kind of took charge of the notification process. Now, right? The people must have already submitted themselves. So getting this call or email saying you’ve been accepted to be a participant on Jeopardy had to have been like winning the lottery for these people. They must have been.

Bob Ettinger: 

They were you would have to go through a slight you know, a flight and I would also help book people when it came time for them to be on the show. And so one guy who had been there forever book, probably the most people on the show. But during my tenure, I ended up booking the two who is the biggest winners of all time on the show. So I made the phone call to let Brad Ryder know he’s on the show. And they made the phone call that Ken Jennings now he was on the show.

Scott Edwards: 

Now Ken Jennings he’s like hosting it now, isn’t he?

Bob Ettinger: 

He was what happened? Well, he’s a he’s a guest, though. So what happened was this past season, as Alex was not doing well, health wise.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah. And our condolences for anybody that Yeah, Alex Trebek, he was a great entertainer in held that show down for all those decades. But we did lose him in this last year. But I know that they were using some of the old winners. guest host I’m sorry, I just want to explain to the audience Oh,

Bob Ettinger: 

no, that and the thing that I wrote a little tribute to him on Facebook, he was actually really funny. I remember seeing him one day, and he was riffing a little bit. And I thought to myself, Okay, he’s got a couple of good plan jokes. So don’t try it out every episode. And he’ll entertain the audience to that, and they’ll never be the wiser. But every episode, he had something different funny to say. And we didn’t have a warm up comic, like most shows, because he was that good.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, interesting.

Bob Ettinger: 

But no, I began the whole writing team. At one point, but no, that was not, not what I was doing. I was mostly in the contest area. And then I became a special projects coordinator, as you mentioned, but they hired Canada’s as a consultant of some kind, I believe, as Alex’s health was not doing well. He ended up getting some clues and doing some stuff. And so he was the first of many guest hosts that they’re going to have and I would tell they, they’re going to have probably about five or six more. So I think they’ll end up having probably about maybe a total.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, wow. Well, those are big shoes to fill. They are I mean, Alex Trump back was the face of that game show for three decades. Long time, right?

Bob Ettinger: 

Yeah. 88 since 84. Wow. So yeah. And I remember we did rock and roll Jeopardy. And we had your post was from Ryder. And I remember Jeff, and that’s not to say anything bad to Jeff. But Jeff had to do a couple retakes of clips. Because he sometimes he would sing a melody, which you’re not allowed to do, because then you end up paying for it. Right. So he would have clues about literature. This was three them straight, and he would read them. He was like, sing them and they’re like, no, no, we can’t do that. Oh, that’s so so he I remember him redoing these clues. And I’m thinking to myself, what are we doing? Because Oh, we have to retake clues. And then it’s done to me. It’s like Alex never has I’d never seen it before because Alex never did it.

Scott Edwards: 

Right. Right. He never had. He was a smart guy. Yeah, and

Bob Ettinger: 

it wasn’t because Alex was always you know, I’m too good to redo it. It just It was perfect. Everything But you didn’t have to read it.

Scott Edwards: 

I gotta tell you the one thing funny about Alex Trebek that always got me is that every now and then you kind of cringed a little because he would look at the contestants. And like, like, you didn’t know that, you know, this kind of, you know, authority of indignation that somebody didn’t know something that he knew. And it was, it was so funny, because he never did it in anyone’s face. You never wanted to make anybody look bad. Right? But you knew it when he was like, Oh, come on.

Bob Ettinger: 

The guests are doing that now.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, that’s funny. Now. He was amazing. How often were you on set much? Or was this all backstage?

Bob Ettinger: 

I was. So so my deal was this is going to give your audience a little bit of an insight. So not only did they oversee the booking, but during tape days, when it first started, they oversaw the paperwork. And so everybody had to fill out all this paperwork saying that they’ve not been on shows. And just eligibility things and all that kind of stuff. So as I’m looking at everybody doing the paperwork, something caught my eye right away. And it was consistent throughout almost every taping. And that is the world is not doesn’t have that many left handed people, right, compared to right handed people. But on Jeopardy, it was literally like 5050 Every single day. More lefties and righties. I don’t know what that means. But I always noticed that,

Scott Edwards: 

you know, I thought you were gonna say that there’s less lefties, but they’re smarter. But I that’s kind of fascinating that all the people you saw come through the show. It wasn’t. It was one wasn’t one way or the other. It was 5050. righties and lefties. That is kind of one of those nuances that I bet nobody picked up on.

Bob Ettinger: 

Yeah, I would think the general population is gonna be about 80 85%. I would think

Scott Edwards: 

oh, yeah, it’s it’s way up there. Well, that working with jeopardy for 10 years, that’s a career in itself. What do you what do you got going on now? Or do you have something coming up soon?

Bob Ettinger: 

So I’ve got a couple things I’m working on the aforementioned Henrique and I are working on a game show concept that we’re, we’re looking forward to getting out there to pitch.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, that’s good. Well, let me know how that goes. It would be so fun to actually write a game show. I mean, it’s just one of those things that I know Drew Carey’s just having so much fun. Being a game show host. And a lot of people don’t realize right now, they shoot. They’ll shoot a couple weeks of shows in like two days. So right. You’re only working two days, and you got the rest of the week off and you make a lot of money. But

Bob Ettinger: 

Alex worked like 46 days a year 48.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, well, he was the host. He could just walk in do his job and leave.

Bob Ettinger: 

Yeah, yeah, we would do a week’s worth of shows a day. And he’d had like a promo day and like some other day and and that was it. He was done. Oh, that’s so funny. So we’re looking to pitch a show. We actually had an online show for a bit hosted by the march, march theatre up in Oakland in San Francisco.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, cool.

Bob Ettinger: 

Yeah, it was fun. We did an online zoom game shop,

Scott Edwards: 

online zoom game show. And it was the smartest person in the room. Right? Is it kind of like one of those trivia nights they’ll have at bars and stuff? Yeah, like,

Bob Ettinger: 

yeah, like a Pub. Pub trivia kind of thing. So

Scott Edwards: 

but you made it more official.

Bob Ettinger: 

Right. So what we did is we had questions, there were multiple choice. And we figured out on zoom that people could ring in and pick their choice, which we didn’t figure out was the identifying the people were the right choice was not easy to do.

Scott Edwards: 

Now, there’s always going to be something to make it difficult. Right?

Bob Ettinger: 

Right. So it’s like, okay, who got the right, somebody

Scott Edwards: 

tell us? Oh, that’s funny. And and then, and that’s what you’re working on with Don Reed.

Bob Ettinger: 

And then as he has different, it’s a different yet. So it’s a different game show. I’m working with him that one, and there’s a different one as well. Then I’m working with Don. So it’s actually two different shows

Scott Edwards: 

we’ve done. So you guys are kind of partnering up on some production stuff your shop. Yeah, that’s awesome. And you know, I enjoyed producing TV and concerts, I would recommend it to anybody that can find a niche and make it work. And I think that if you guys came up with a quality game show or die ends up with a new one man show. I mean, all those are worthy efforts in the art of comedy. So congratulations.

Bob Ettinger: 

Well, thanks. It was it was fun to watch the various people because I could see them on zoom as we’re reading the questions. And so sometimes, I would write a question that we get a big laugh and that was always fun to see on Zoom. I remember one one woman in particular was cracking up about one joke Then I read. And she, she was just laughing the entire time. So we got to the next question. So that was

Scott Edwards: 

way under watch, you know, all entertainers. No other questions got a hold on, hold on, I want to just state that all comics are doing it for that validation. And then right here the audience, or even in the case of my bonus shows, which we call an audience of one, when you get that laughter, it’s validating your work. So what was the joke that made her laugh on and on?

Bob Ettinger: 

So which of these was not a brand of air freshener? A glade be B, for brief? C silent the deadline?

Scott Edwards: 

I bet the I bet that one work pretty good.

Bob Ettinger: 

Logic or crack up? So looks like

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, nothing. That’s it. That’s funny. Well, Bob, you’ve had an amazing career. I can’t tell you how excited I am about your upcoming projects. It sounds like you and Don Reed have some some irons in the fire and hopefully something.

Bob Ettinger: 

One other solo thing I’ll sort of throw out here and yeah, sure, let’s plug away. Ironically, enough burners got a copy of this right now. During this last period of time we had available where it couldn’t pitch things. I was excited to write a book. And the book is all has to do every single short stories with everyone has something to do with sports.

Scott Edwards: 

Okay, a short story sports called some sports stories.

Bob Ettinger: 

Oh, and so summer, me growing up playing sports. Summer, my daughter who was ended up being a really great basketball player. Oh, cool. Some weeks actually, when my dad passed, he was an avid baseball fan. So I talked at his funeral about him keeping score and how that pertains to his life. So that’s in there as well. Oh, cool. whole story of me spreading his ashes around to various sort of sports locales in honor of him. Oh, well, that’s very special. Bob, I’m sorry to hear about your loss. But to do that, yeah. Later finding your story on the golf course and other spots as well. So so the name of the game is, once more is some sports stories, some sports is to get a few more people to get some comments from him and look for a publisher. Awesome. Well, once once we get a publisher, I’ll circle back and do some of the stories for you on the air.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, yeah, let’s have you back on and share some of that, Well, Bob, you’ve had such an interesting life, starting off, doing comedy on UCLA campus, work in the clubs like mine, and then ending up as the project coordinator for jeopardy for over 10 years. And now working on the special productions. I just think it’s so exciting. And you’ve brought such a variety. It’s interesting how, as a stand up comic and a writer, you’ve able to take several paths in your life in your career. And yet, it all comes back down to being a guy that can write and has a sense of humor, right, but it just shows there’s so many different things that you can do with an art form or a talent. Well, we really appreciate you being on the show today. Ladies and gentlemen don’t go away. I’ve got a great comedy set. Don’t forget Bobbitt and ger live on stage that’s right that’s what’s coming up. I have a live set I’m going to share with you Bob thanks for doing the podcast

Bob Ettinger: 

My pleasure

Scott Edwards: 

All right ladies and gentlemen stay tuned here it is Bob at injure live on stage

Bob Ettinger: 

had a great breakfast today went to windshields very impressive place workplace winches huge sign the wall says donuts 45 cents favorites 50 Off to the guy go How much are the glaze guy looks at me goes Are they I’m at the paper though. They had a list for the best shows your favorites for kids to watch number one on this list. Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Horrible show for kids to watch. First thing every show old guy wearing a sweater winking at kids asking him if they want to be his neighbor. Then before these kids can say anything he’s already slipping into something more comfortable. Male man’s name is Mr. McFeely. Now come on there’s weird stuff on TV now though. They got these adult diapers on TV now using this product called the pins. What a horrible name for this product. Bring this thing home or at work depends. I’ll give it a shot better than what my mom did to me growing up. My mom used to write my name on the back of my underwear apparently she finally forget who I was during the day. I have no idea but it does come in handy when I have to cash a check and need a second piece of ID. oh she’s a grandma now grandmother twins Yeah, she dresses up the twins got a little pink dresses on will think both were pretty cute. So from across the room you can tell these are two pesky little boys My mom raised me differently My mom raised me to be a nice guy kind of a dying breed no one likes from it they’re a nice guy cuz it’s a nice guys finish last let’s say Hey, what’s wrong with most women want mean you’re cheering the guys going? I don’t care what the hell’s he talking about? And the guys that aren’t getting it are the guys that are getting it. So.

Scott Edwards: 

Ladies and gentlemen, that was Bob at injure live on stage. And thank you so much for joining us for this week’s show. I enjoyed interviewing Bob and hearing all about Jeopardy and his comedy sets very funny. If you get a chance, tell your friends share the podcast and we’ll have another creative new fun show for you next week. Thanks for listening. Bye.

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